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PLASMA MAGAZINE

Published in Issue Nr. 3
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CRTD

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease for which there is currently no cure or preventative therapy. Each year, around 2,300 new cases of type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in Germany and this number has doubled in the last twelve years. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The process usually begins in early childhood and can be identified by measuring circulating antibodies that bind specific proteins of the pancreas. The early detection of this process can help prevent the sudden onset of life-threatening hyperglycaemia when the disease presents clinically. The Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)’s Freder1k study provides testing of newborns for genetic markers of type 1 diabetes. Since starting the study in August 2016, over 2500 newborns in Saxony have been tested and over 50 with an increased genetic risk are being followed. While the Freder1k study is identifying children who will develop diabetes, it is important to understand why some children do while others don’t develop disease, find ways to prevent type 1 diabetes, and replace the lost insulin producing cells in those who already have the disease. The CRTD is part of worldwide efforts to do so, with six research groups dedicated to improving our understanding of diabetes and developing new therapies. The group of Ezio Bonifacio, for example, has developed methods to examine how the immune system reacts to the insulin producing cells and has started clinical trials to prevent this unwanted immune response. The group of Nikolai Ninov investigates the regenerative potential of insulin-producing beta cells in order to develop a therapy that brings new cells to patients, and several groups are working together to place new insulin producing cells into patients. Such pioneering research brings us closer to reducing the number of children who develop type 1 diabetes and improving the lives of those who have the disease.

 

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